The Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers campaign funded partner organizations to conduct public outreach. The goal was to educate families, small businesses, and community members on the impacts of combined sewer overflows. Public outreach provides opportunities for community input in the development of solutions and education on the benefits of green infrastructure.
Here is a report back on some of the activities that were held as part of the Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers capacity building grant program.
The Perth Amboy Civic Trust held a Solutions Forum on Combined Sewage Overflows (CSO’s) on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at the Alexander Jankowski Community Center. Civic Trustees and community leaders gathered together to learn about the issues with stormwater drainage and its effects on our waterways, but more importantly, they learned that CSO’s will cost residents millions of taxpayer dollars if they don’t begin addressing the problem together. At the forum, panelists spoke about policies that could be adopted to help address this issue and what they believe should be included as part of the plan. Having the community involved in these discussions helps generate more solutions that can potentially be adopted and help save taxpayer dollars.
The Perth Amboy Civic Trust will host a second Solutions Forum on Combined Sewage Overflows that will focus on alternative solutions. To RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf-pNep9mFGFVXq6L0UBDlo3wJ3Kuxb3NT77ashZ9IerahJgQ/viewform, or email Joel@thecitizenscampaign.org.
On May 22nd the Bayonne Water Guardians held a rain barrel workshop where 17 rain barrels were raffled off. Watershed Ambassador Christine Favorito gave an educational presentation on rain barrel use, rain gardens, and how citizens can participate in mitigating flooding that can occur during rainstorms. Tim Boyle, Executive Director Bayonne Municipal Utility Authority, also spoke about the Long Term Control Plan and what Bayonne is doing to comply with government mandates regarding CSOs. Mike Rusigelio of the Bayonne Nature Club also spoke about the importance of maintaining clean waterways and how we benefit as a community.
Sustainable Jersey City’s (SJC) initiative focused on assisting the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JC MUA) with their public outreach on behalf of their Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) Assessment. SJC replicated a survey that was created by the JC MUA to gather feedback and set out to collect responses from community stakeholders to share back with them. SJC got the word out through a blogpost and additional educational messaging about the LTCP and how important it was for the public to engage, and then also ran a social media campaign through the end of June to create additional awareness. The social media campaign also lent support for a project SJC set up to work with Ferris and Dickinson High School Student Council groups. In partnership with the Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers campaign, SJC gave presentations at high schools to provide context and to educate the students about the stormwater management issues and the various options the JC MUA LTCP were considering to address these challenges. The students volunteered to reach out to other students, parents and their communities to share the educational materials and messaging SJC provided them. SJC used the funding from the Capacity Building Grant to provide Amazon Gift Cards to the 22 students who participated in the campaign, also giving them Civic Service Certificates for their hard work. The Students were also treated to lunch the week before the semester ended!